Archives for category: family

It’s raining.

Anyone living anywhere near Colorado knows how precious that is right now. There have been fires all over the state, all over the region, for the last month, and no rain. 350 homes gone right outside of Colorado Springs, in a canyon I had planned to hike soon. Homes lost in Fort Collins, near a hike Chad and I did four years ago. Smoke and haze obscuring the mountains from our view, a non-sight that is utterly disturbing to any Coloradan, since the mountains are … right … there.

But it’s coming down, and it’s not just an afternoon shower, either. Streaks of water, barely any angle to their trajectory, just down, down, down, into the ground and along the gutters. I swear lightning almost struck my house just minutes ago, and the sound was terrifying and ohso welcome. Even better that E miraculously slept through it.

There were moments where I thought about dancing for the rain, and I definitely prayed for it. And it came, in its own darn time, but I am so thankful.

Life is kind of awash right now, as well. My high school psychology teacher was training to be a Jungian analyst, and I will never forget her lecturing us about dreams having to do with water. Emotion — water is emotion. I feel like I’ve been soldiering on, that Chad has been soldiering on, through the heat and through the desert, looking for something that we need, though neither of us knows just what that is. We’re both a little numb from the work and from the uncertainty of it all, I think. When will rain come?

Personally, I’m lost in the decision about whether or not to go back to work. I’ve been meaning to resign but I can’t bring myself to do it. I find myself cruising the job postings late at night. And my desperation to find little ways to contribute to the household budget — baby-sitting Blaise, contracting myself as a teacher for MDPL, writing little articles for medical websites …. All of it feels so inadequate.

Working, though, especially as a full-time teacher — that’s more than adequate. That’s almost martyrdom. And E! Where would she be all day? With whom, doing what? I want to be with her. But I want to contribute to the larger world, as well. But will I really be contributing anything at all if we’re all just tons more stressed out while I work? My mom says that if she could do it all over again, she would have found a way to stay home with us, whatever it took. Erg.

While it’s raining, while E is still sleeping, I’ll just sit in the emotions of it all, letting it wash over me, through me, before me.

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I’m sitting in the waiting room of a surgical center as my dad recovers from a successful operation to reattach a tendon and clean up some debris in his right shoulder. It’s strange helping your parents out, especially now that I am a parent and I can barely imagine Elinor doing something similar for me in the future.

My parents’ vulnerability was obvious to me early on, as a somewhat-aware seven-year-old witness to their divorce and the emotional wreckage that followed. I’m not sure if it made me grow up faster or not, but I like to think that it fostered some sympathy in my little heart, or that it triggered some sympathy, at the very least. But every time I am in a situation like this one, taking care of them in one form or another, it is both gratifying and terrifying. Gratifying in that I am able and willing to help, especially when they’ve been pretty decent parents to me. Terrifying for the same reason — they need my help, and the burden of that can be frightening.

But it’s strange. I’ll leave it at that.

I’m glad my dad is OK. I’ll be glad to see him.

[The nurse looked at me when I came in to witness the anesthesia and asked me how old I was. I was a little taken aback, but answered that I was 31. She laughed and said I didn’t look it, and then looked back at my dad and told him that he didn’t look his age, either. I know where I got it, at least, and it was nice to know that I still look youngish …. I’ve finally gotten to the age where I am appreciating that quality in myself. AIEEE! Mortality is creeping up on me, everywhere!]

I think I am just desperate for creative outlets. That, or obsessed with wool. Perhaps both.

But when Janice was out here, we both bought needle felting kits at the local craft store. I made a tiny little owl for Elinor, which she loved, and was taken with the whole process. Since wool, super-fiber that it is, naturally clings to itself, if you poke a barbed needle into shaped wool thousands of times, the whole thing felts and takes that shape, albeit a tad bit smaller. But that means that you can sculpt wool into almost any shape you want, and that means safe, fun, cute toys for babies. Or for adults — I made Chad an anatomically correct heart (from another kit I shared with Janice) for Valentine’s Day, as well as a weird little bird.

I can’t find the owl, the heart, or the bird, of course, but I just made some toys for my niece and nephew, whose birthdays are approaching. I think I might try to make sets for all new babies — they’re so easy to hold and so safe and fun to chew on ….

Harper’s panda:

Peyton’s sea turtle:

Chad is half Swedish. His mother is fully Swedish; her parents emigrated from Sweden in the 40s, I think. This is a wonderful thing, to have such a recent history written across the world, to have such a certain connection to another country and culture. It’s especially precious because Chad has a large set of relatives in Sweden, with whom we keep in decent contact.

We visited in 2009, two weeks of relatives and Västergötland, or West Gothland, in south central Sweden. We divided our time between two cousins of Chad’s mom — Kristina and Karin. Kristina is younger, and much busier, with a son in high school and another young son in lower grade school at the time. But Karin, slightly older, and her husband Börje, have four children who are only slightly younger than Chad and myself. Staying with them, on their organic sheep farm (!), felt a bit more like being part of a family, if only because of the age range of everyone there. It was a wonderful visit, all around. I felt completely welcomed and was enchanted with Sweden, proud to be married to a half-Swede, and strangely conscious that my skin is pretty darn dark and that my hair is, too.

We haven’t kept in the best touch, but all of the people there became very real to me, very much a part of the larger family into which I had married.

But we heard yesterday, haphazardly in the way that intercontinental news travels without the internet, that Börje had died. He was only sixty, and the little information that we had gleaned was that he had been feeling tired. By the time he got to the doctor, he had advanced lung cancer, and within weeks — days? — he was gone.

It’s a shock, as many deaths are. I am still not accustomed to them. Yesterday my mother-in-law told me this as I returned from my afternoon out, as she and my father-in-law babysat Elinor. So I picked up my chubby baby and spent the rest of the day absorbed in caring for her, thinking occasionally of the news and not sure how to approach it, not sure how to deal with it.

I’m still not sure. But last night, while rocking and singing and nursing E to sleep, I felt this calm peace about Börje himself. If there were ever a righteous, humble, and wonderful man, it was him. He was a kind of rock to his family, and he was a gracious host and father-figure to us while we visited. He loved the earth, and machines, and animals, and church organs, and his family with all of his heart. We loved him, and I know in my heart that he led a good life and that he is with God, somewhere beautiful, farming as he loved to do.

What breaks my heart more, to be honest, is thinking of Karin and his children. Karin is a whirlwind of a woman, and she and Börje were the kind of odd couple that makes life richer and louder. She is strong, of course, but I hope that she finds love like that in other places, because it was a unique and wonderful one, from what we could see.

All four kids, too, are in their twenties, and that is just a difficult time to lose your father. Pontus, Britta, Lotta, and Elsa … I cannot even imagine what they are going through.

I suppose that all of this is a miniature tribute to a man I met once, but in that meeting I respected and cared for him.

Good farming, Börje.

 

 

 

I suck at housekeeping. I’m not even really that clean. I am perfectly content to have clutter and even little dustbunnies running around. Every once in awhile, usually late at night or while procrastinating on some important project, I will get a cleaning urge and just clean the heck out of everything (or at least one specific area). And I do try to keep the grossness out of things, in general — I do maintain the kitchen and bathroom reasonably well.

But it’s just not a priority to me. I like to say that I have other, more important priorities (Elinor! making food! reading! showering! brushing my teeth! watching the second season of _Glee_!), but more often than not, I’m just lazy. I know this about myself.

Chad knew it, to an extent, before we married, but now he knows just how far that extends. I would say that it is one of the largest stresses on our marriage, to be honest (though most days it’s not a huge thing — he does love me, despite my failings). But it is a stress, because Chad is affected by his environment greatly. Things need to be ordered, and in their place, and pleasant for him to function at the level he prefers.

I respect this. But I suck at keeping the house there, and though I am a bit neater and prioritize cleaning because I live with and love him, I have a continual sense of needing to do more. Chad is actually pretty understanding about most of it, and most of my guilt is self-inflicted, but it is there.

Anyway, once in awhile Chad pleads with me to make one specific area of the house a nice one, replete with organization and pleasant light. We have this nice, unheated sunroom on the western side of our house. Chad has made half of it his work-out area. A NordicTrack sits there, along with weights and yoga mat. Plants separate his half from my half, which is a staging area (so many parts of my house bear this name …). Elinor’s carseat lives there when she’s not inhabiting it, and so do random clothesline things, bookshelves that need to be incorporated into our house and MDPL’s space, cat toys, the diaper bag, bags from the Tattered Cover, and, recently, bags from my mother’s basement that contain that last remnants of my childhood.

Oh, and reigning over all of that is the meoda-setla.

Let me write a eulogy for the meoda-setla.

The meoda-setla was a gift from Christine Breiner to me, the last week of my first year of college. I had just discovered that I was going to be an RA in Gund, the weird but desperately proud non-smoking dorm, and Christine, a cross-country-running senior, had been the RA in the room I would have there prior to me. The room was essentially a double single — a huge room, big enough for two, perhaps the largest single on campus, though it was in Gund. (And I am not knocking Gund — I loved Gund desperately. But it was never the happening place, you know?)

Anyway, the meoda-setla is an armchair chaise longue. It’s a cute, overstuffed armchair whose seat extends three feet out so that you can rest your legs on it. Even when I received it from Christine, it had seen better days. Its upholstery was a drab grey, after having originally been white or cream with embroidered flowers on it. I was taking History of the English Language with Professor Klein at the time, and we were reading things on Old English. A meoda-setla is a mead bench in Beowulf’s time, and the sweetness of that idea, paired with the extreme functionality, led to my christening of that chair.

I put it in the western facing corner of my sweet-ass double single, the largest single on campus, under the window. At one point Monica and I had a contraband kitten living on it for a little while. I spent hundreds of hours on that thing that year, and I stored it in the basement of another house the next year while I was in England, then retrieved it when I moved into a Woodland apartment with Monica, Celia, and Maggie. It sat in the corner, again, and I have vivid memories of reading _The Golden Compass_ and literary theory on it in the afternoons, as well as SOBBING on it right after watching _Donnie Darko_ for the very first time.

After graduation, I couldn’t bear to part with it. Mark was kind enough to help me pack his truck around the thing, which barely fit in the bed of that full-sized truck. It went with me to my parent’s house. Then to my apartment in Golden, then to the house in Arvada, then back to my parent’s basement while I moved to Nashville for grad school, and then back up the rickety stairs into the apartment Emily and I shared. It moved to 560 Delaware, the first place I bought, and that’s where Chad began to plot revenge upon the meoda-setla.

Honestly, it was the cat’s fault. Since the meoda-setla had, as I said before, seen much better days, the felt-y stuff that was stapled under the base, hiding the creaky springs, had come apart in some places. Iza managed to worm her way up onto the felt, and then that was all over. Iza always loved that chair, anyway, but when we got Alex, the meoda-setla became the cat chair du jour, every jour, and though I slept in it for eight hours straight the day I got the swine flu, I couldn’t spend that much time in it anymore, once I discovered that I had asthma and that it was cat-induced.

So the meoda-setla became just the cat chair, and it is large, and 560 Delaware was small, and Chad begged me to get rid of it. We have had numerous loud discussions about the meoda-setla, and that’s pretty much as bad as it gets in our house. But I clung to the history of the thing, always saying that it just needed to be reupholstered, and that someday I would get to it. It really is a unique chair. I once went online to find something like it, and I don’t know if anything like it exists. So I should reupholster it ….

Yeah, right.

When we moved here the meoda-setla went to the sunroom, off the beaten path. The cats still love it, to the point that we just cover it with a blanket so that I can occasionally wash the blanket and save our house from cat hair and dirt and Iza’s dingleberries while still allowing the cats to sleep on it. But Chad still hates it, and it still takes up a lot of room, and I never sit in it because of the cats and because, despite my being OK with a little dirt, even I am offended by its complete shabbiness.

But I still refused to get rid of it for a long time, due to that history I mentioned, until after Elinor was born. Then something clicked in me, and I realized that it is just a chair, and dingy one at that. I will probably never have the time or the money to reupholster it, and I do love my husband. I acknowledge my failings as a housekeeper; perhaps I could concede the point and give up this one item as a sacrifice for his happiness. It’s obviously taken me a long time to accept this idea, but accept it I have.

I tried to Freecycle it. Freecycle is a service where you post free stuff for people to pick up if they can use it (often very random shit — from coupons for formula to old keyboards to old beds — I got my clothesline from Freecycle). I thought for sure someone would want it. To wit, my ad:

“An old, slightly ratty but lovely chaise longue armchair (an armchair with a seat long enough for your legs). The most comfortable seat in the world, but well loved by us and our cats — if I had the money and room in the house, I would reupholster it, but for now it is just covered by a long blanket. You will need a pickup truck or long bed to pick it up.”

No one wanted it.

So today I called our trash service. For $15, they will take it away. I made an appointment for next Tuesday.

I am having second thoughts. But it is just a chair. I wish I weren’t so attached to the chair, and the memories, and some vague idea of the part of me that the chair might represent.

I am still wondering about reupholstering. Perhaps I could save up.

It’s funny — Chad was reminiscing about how he used to be able to sit in front of the Christmas tree, basking in its beauty and contemplating how, on a level, it represented the divinity of Christ’s birth, and our continued celebration and devotion to that. But then his sad conclusion was that he didn’t know if he could ever do that again.

I feel exactly the same way. I have vivid memories of sitting on Dad’s ex-wife’s couch, marveling at the individuality and weirdly sacred nature of the Christmas tree. I am pretty sure that, on a few occasions, I even brought my comforter down and slept in front of the tree, just wanting to be near something that I saw as so special and important. The entire Advent season was one of joy in religion for me, and though a Christmas tree isn’t necessarily a Christian symbol, for me it did symbolize that entire period of the year.

But now I hate the holidays. Well, not really. But I dread them, and finding that innocent magic in them is becoming more and more difficult. I had hoped that having a child around would help me to find that joy again, but E is just too little. It was a joy to have her touch Christmas lights and play with wrapping paper, but the meaning behind it all won’t come for some time, and so I was left mired in my own conflicting feelings about the holiday.

I think it has to do with time, and money, and the awkward feeling of being an adult surrounded by other adults. Does that make sense? It’s never been easy to find gifts for my massive family. Each branch, each separate unit, is sprawling. Chad’s small little nuclear unit hasn’t even been a significant change to the overwhelming numbers of people that I would like to bestow gifts upon. It was fun trying to find creative, cheap ways to make gifts for family when Joanna, Emily, and I worked together — but this year I was lost in a morass of denial, so I just delayed the inevitable and, honestly, didn’t really get a soul Christmas gifts.

Part of me feels OK with this. I think Christmas should be about spending time with each other, not buying stuff for each other. But a larger part feels awful about this, because the gifts of cash and other things from parents and grandparents has been so invaluable to us, and when the heck am I gonna grow up and bestow such gifts upon others? Perhaps I will feel differently about my own kids — I KNOW I will feel differently about Elinor and any others that may come, actually. But I am an adult now, and a huge chunk of me wonders if I should just suck it up and be that adult, spending inordinate amounts of our income on gifts for the many that I really do love ….

This has all just been sitting in my head, marinating in the grey matter for the last few weeks.

Things progressed normally for a pregnancy. I started the schoolyear and didn’t tell anyone except my coworker, Loralie; just in case of a miscarriage, I didn’t want to have to explain more than necessary. But we did start letting the word out. We went to visit my Grandma Lueck in Iliff one weekend, and when I didn’t have alcohol at dinner, Grandma just looked straight at me and asked if I was pregnant. That was such a great moment for me — telling my Grandmother that a fourth generation would be joining us was just cool.

We also had some neighbors over for dinner. Just that week I had had my first ultrasound, and the pictures (such precious pictures!) were up on our fridge. I didn’t even notice them there until after our neighbors had left. Chad and I laughed and were grateful that those two were fairly private and respectful people, especially since Chad worked in the same building as one of them.

For posterity, the pictures:

Looking back, it is so weird to think that Elinor looked like that!

But anyway, more decisions loomed. Somewhere in my mind I had decided that I didn’t want to know the sex of the baby. It felt intrusive to me. From birth this little one would have so many assumptions made about it, so many expectations saddled on it, that I didn’t like the idea of heaping gender-based expectations on it prior to birth itself. A little bit of me was influenced by my CNM, who had told me stories about cases where the sex was incorrectly identified, leaving decorating parents and grandparents in a lurch.

But most importantly, I really didn’t want to receive a bunch of pink or blue stuff. In general I don’t like that method of gender identification (though I do look ravishing in pink), and that pragmatic side of me was thinking that it would be nice to re-use some of the baby stuff we did receive or buy, whether it was a girl or a boy. Chad and I went back and forth on it for awhile. He claimed that he didn’t care whether we found out or not, but I still don’t know if I believe(d) him. His mom definitely wanted to find out; she was all raring to go out and buy some cute clothes for the baby, and mentioned how difficult it was to find gender-neutral things, which is very true (and I hate that life is that way!). In the end, my ill-defined wish won out. When we painted the nursery, we finally settled on a vivid, Kermit-like green (I think it was called something like “Geranium Leaf”). It all worked.

But how to refer to a genderless embryo or fetus? A coworker of mine from Outward Bound was nicknamed “The Skink” by her parents in utero — and those early ultrasounds do look eerily reptilian. Chad and I threw some ideas back and forth, but one day we settled on Gorb.

Gorb?

Yes, Gorb. I am pretty sure it was a random set of phonemes that Chad made up on the spot, though I do wonder if it had to do with the sound my impressively loud pregnant belches made. We laughed about it at first, but the darn name stuck. Gorb became Gorbachev and Gorbarella at different times, and we both got a kick out of the way people thought we were crazy when they heard the name. But there was something right about it, something real and human about such a weird assortment of syllables. We loved Gorb already, and that name just let us focus our love somewhere specific.

Later on, my brother-in-law Dave heard the name. He’s kind of brilliant, and he didn’t laugh at us like others did. Instead, he said something akin to, “Of course. Girl or Boy — GorB.” Chad and I just looked at each other, eyebrows raised. Perhaps our subconscious minds had meant to do that. More likely not. Regardless — when those gender-neutral items would begin to arrive, they would be meant for Gorb and set away in Gorb’s brilliant green room.

Since Elinor’s birth, I’ve been reading like a maniac, which I love. I read while I nurse, mostly, which is often. When Elinor is finicky and doesn’t want to nurse, I sometimes miss my reading time. But that’s OK.

BUT I just finished a book and it has me all riled up: _Born to Love_ by Bruce Perry and Maia Szalavitz. My Goodreads.com review:

“I have a bias toward things that deal with empathy — it’s a very Christian (and generally religious) concept, and I stand by it. This book was great b/c it approaches empathy from a scientific perspective, using biological, sociological, economic, medical, and psychological studies to state that 1) empathy is biologically rooted in our bodies through our stress response (or the mediation of that response) and 2) that empathy must be triggered by our social relationships, most often in early childhood. There is much more to this book, but it is a quick, easy read and it kept making me harangue Chad about all of the interesting, great, and terrifying facts and theories that it brought up. Especially useful for a young parent like myself, but also for anyone who gives a damn. I would compare this to _Outliers_ by Malcolm Gladwell, though it was much more research- and experience-based (Perry is a renowned child psychologist). Highly recommended and it makes me want to work to change the world for better. Huzzah!”

Anyway, I was indeed haranguing Chad about the book, and three things really got to me. I will go in order from least important to me at this time, to most important.

1) Part of the reason I love our neighborhood is because it really is in a zone where a bunch of different classes could interact. We are solidly middle class, but down the block are some skeezy apartments and down the other way are some bona fide mansions. [NB – skeezy is a made-up word for my lower-income neighbors, while bona fide is a fancy foreign word — ohhh, language!] _Born for Love_ advocates more social interaction in our lives, period, as that triggers and allows for empathy. But the authors also stress more social interactions with people not “like” us, be that due to race, economics, political leanings, etc. They advocate this because, though we do biologically benefit from our tendency towards being empathic, we also rely upon our dear old “us versus them” tendency, as well. The more we interact with others who seem to be “them,” the less they will seem like “them” and the more they will seem like “us.” I’ve seen the need for this in the kids I teach, and I see it in my own life. I wish that there were more options for the folks in our neighborhood to interact more.

1b) The polarization of our political scene stems from this, as well. I hang out with more Republicans than most of my fellow Liberal friends, just because of my family ties, but the more we did associate with people from the other party, the less we might be at each other’s throats, which seems to be very important for this country right now …..

Which leads me to:

2) I went to grad school for teaching because of the Expeditionary Learning Outward Bound (ELOB) schools, which are charter schools (run by small groups for a purpose, run with public funds, accountable to their own charter, but not to much else). All through grad school I advocated for Choice in schools, which would mean that students have the ability to choose from more schools based upon specific ideas, like ELOB, or Math & Science, or the Arts, instead of just attending their neighborhood school. I thought this was a good idea since people seem to benefit from choice in their lives and control.

But then I taught in a public school, which also happened to be one of the worst public schools in our state. And now Choice to me is scary. Not only does it allow us to self-select into our own safe little groups, but it takes away chances for us to interact with those unlike us. This could easily lead to less empathy, according to Bruce and Szalavitz. And I agree with them. My school’s neighborhood was being gentrified and is probably at least 40% white, but our school, the local neighborhood school, is 95% minority. All of the white families have “choiced” their kids out of the local neighborhood school, which is the modern-day, politically correct equivalent of white flight, in my mind. Have it both ways — live in the city, but benefit from upper-middle-class education since you have the time, resources, and know-how to work the system and get your kid out of there, while the parents who lack the know-how, the transportation to get their kids to other schools, or the ability to even care about their kids’ education, send them to our school, which becomes, quite thoroughly, segregated by class, which so often correlates to race. Choice is segregating our schools by necessity and correlation. No wonder kids are lacking empathy.

I could (and should) say much more about this. Someday. It is complicated greatly in my own life by our own neighborhood, because Choice is an option here and our local elementary school is, truly, the worst elementary school in our district b/c parents like me choice their kids out of it. And Chad’s former boss was eloquent: “I don’t vote with my kids.” I do want to ensure Elinor has a great education. But I also want her to be empathic and exposed to different lives, and I worry about losing that if I choice her outta here. I am torn. And she is only five months old!

Which leads me to:

3) Chad began work at the high-falutin’ law firm this past week, and I was torn apart about it. He’s already working his ass off for me and Elinor, which allows me to stay home with her. I have been incredibly grateful for this opportunity, and staying home with Elinor is not all creamcakes and lollipops — it IS work. But it is work that I am privileged to enjoy. But, needless to say, I was feeling guilty about being able to stay home with her. Most of my friends cannot afford to do so, and I worry whether it make me less committed to my career and the rest of the world to do so. Since I worry so rarely about anything …..

This book actually made me more comfortable with the choice to stay home with Elinor, especially this first year. Empathy is triggered, according to the authors and their impressively noted studies, by consistent attachment to a primary caregiver, be that person a mom, dad, grandparent, or daycare provider, especially during the first year of life. But all babies benefit from as much individual attention as they can get, as their stress responses will be appropriately managed and empathy developed with that consistency and reassurance. I really, really wish I lived in Iceland, where all parents receive NINE MONTHS of parental leave, at 80% of their salaries, to be split however they wish between parents. (Chad: “You really are becoming a little socialist, aren’t you?” And YES — care for new mothers and babies in our capitalist society SUCKS. My school would not be in its current straits if we provided for those kids from the start.) But I live here, where the reality is that either Chad works so I can stay home with her, or we search for day care and spend most of my salary on it. I am really, really glad that I get to stay home with her, and hopefully I don’t stress her out too much.

Whew. I highly recommend this book. I love it when books get me all riled up, staying up late into the night typing up rants on my blog.

I was cranky today, though not thoroughly so.  Chad was going to hang out with Elinor, and my mom, step-grandma, and I would go see this movie. Apparently Juanita was very excited. I kind of wanted to see the movie, kind of didn’t, and I worked myself up to a truly pathetic cranky attitude before heading out to meet them.

Why? Now that Elinor is here, I am a mom 24/7. It’s my full-time job. I am always on call. And that gets tiring, especially for someone like me. I like to be flexible, and I like to be independent, and I value the spontaneous. But now I must budget my free time, and plan all outings, and getting out of the house with a 16-week-old is … not getting out of the house in the same way. As much as I want to help with summer camps for MDPL, while I am there I am constantly attending to Elinor’s needs, and that is what I am doing. Anything else is secondary. Grocery store run? Elinor first. Trip to the park? Elinor first. Sleep? Elinor first. Eating? Elinor first.

And I love this. Elinor is amazing, and I am privileged to be her caretaker. I know this with all of my heart.

But I also know that the three or so hours a week when I can leave the house on my own while Chad and Elinor hang out are precious, precious, precious. I need to be just me every now and then (which is why I am again writing this at 11:37 pm when I should be sleeping).

So … going to a movie I kind of wanted to see was not high on my priority list for my precious time out of the house. I would rather go out to dinner with mom and Juanita, or go grocery shopping as I so desperately needed to do, or sneak to a coffee shop and work on my llama book.

Mom and I met early for a beer. Juanita called as I was halfway done (o beer) — the theater had changed the times just this morning (we had planned the outing the week before, when I wasn’t as self-righteous or cranky about my time) and we had missed the first half hour already.

I tried not to be gleeful. But after realizing that I couldn’t go to a later movie, we rescheduled for a Saturday matinee. And then we went and had tea and gelato, and talked about kids and cats and education.

It was precious. No more crankiness from me.